The primary provider of community-controlled health services in the Barkly says the Territory Budget delivers a mixed prognosis for future delivery of health services in the region.
Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Mr Ross Jakamarra Williams said it was disappointing to see an overall reduction in funding for the provision of primary health services in the Barkly.
“There is a reduction of about $400,000 in the Budget allocation for primary health care in the Barkly,” Mr Williams said.
“This is very disappointing given some of the country’s sickest and poorest people live in some very remote communities here and this cut in funding will hit them the hardest.”
Mr Williams said the NT Government had failed to seriously invest in tackling the unacceptably high rates of renal disease in the Barkly region.
“Budget 2016-17 allocates just $240,000 to renal services in the Barkly under the National Partnership Agreement with the Commonwealth.
“This $240,000 is supposed to deliver accommodation, infrastructure and dialysis services across the Barkly. This is barely enough to cover the provision of dialysis services to two patients.
“Anyinginyi is also concerned to note a large reduction in aged care funding in Central Australia.
“The funding to support aged care in the community and other services has been cut by nearly 70 per cent according to the Budget papers.
“We will be wanting more information about how these cuts will impact on aged care services in the Barkly.”
Mr Williams said while Anyinginyi had concerns about the impact of funding cuts to health services, the organisation was pleased to see the NTGovernmentinvesting in improved electronic patient records.
“Aboriginal people from the Barkly often have to go to Alice Springs or Darwin for treatment, and of course people from all over the Barkly come to access services in Tennant Creek, so having a system where patient records can immediately be accessed in any clinic will make a big difference to health outcomes.
“But Anyinginyi is very concerned there appears to be no extra money allocated for the provision of new or refurbished public housing dwellings in Tennant Creeks, especially in Community Living Areas.
“We have a critical issue with inadequate housing and overcrowding in Tennant Creek and this directly impacts on health outcomes.
“People cannot get well and live healthy lives if they have poor housing and Anyinginyi will be strongly advocating for the provision of better services in public housing.”
June 2, 2016